Monday, January 4, 2010

Singapore Achar

The Koreans have their pickled kim chi while Singaporeans have their pickled version of achar consisting of cucumbers, carrots, chillies, onion and garlic with a vinegar-chilli paste mix and a sprinkling of sesame seeds or peanuts. Somehow the humble tasty achar has been overlooked as it is mainly seen as a side dish alongside curry. I personally love Singapore achar though I am not talking about the ones readily sold at wet markets and supermarkets in convenient packs. These are too mild and simplified for my taste buds. Real achar should have lots of oomph and heat. The Nonyas have their version too but they have added ingredients such as cauliflower and cabbage pieces with a heavy dose of peanut sprinkling. I was lucky enough to have a Nonya neighbour when I was growing up and bottles of achar would often be given to my family. What a tasty treat and there was nothing like a good old serving of achar to whet the appetite ! My husband's aunt came over the other day and was kind enough to show me how her version of achar was made. It was indeed very delicious ! In achar making, salt is added to the cut vegetables to bring out the water in them. What you get after a while are crunchy vegetables. Achar can be stored for quite sometime if kept in the fridge and will taste better as days go by.

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